Launch Date Nov. 23, 1965
Launch Site Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Russia
Destination Venus
Type Lander
Status Unsuccessful
Nation Soviet Union
Alternate Names 1965-094A, 01742

Goals

This spacecraft was most likely designed to crash land on Venus and was similar to Venera 3, which launched a week earlier.

Accomplishments

None. An explosion after launch stranded the Venus-bound spacecraft in Earth orbit. It remained in orbit for 16 days and reentered the Earth's atmosphere on 9 December 1965.

In Depth

This was the third and last spacecraft prepared for a Venus encounter by the Soviets in 1965. All three spacecraft had originally been intended for Mars Exploration in 1964 and 1965. However, during coast to orbit, a combustion chamber in the booster's third-stage engine exploded due to a crack in the fuel pipeline.

Although the payload reached Earth orbit, the Blok L upper stage was tumbling and was unable to fire for trans-Venus trajectory injection. The probe remained stranded in Earth orbit and the Soviets named it Kosmos 96 to disguise its true mission. The probe's orbit decayed on 9 December 1965.

Spacecraft

Launch Vehicle: 8K78M

Spacecraft Mass: c. 950 kg

Spacecraft Instruments: Unknown

Additional Resources

National Space Science Data Center Master Catalog: Kosmos 96

Selected References

Siddiqi, Asif A. Deep Space Chronicle: A Chronology of Deep Space and Planetary Probes 1958-2000, NASA, 2002.

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